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Bumble To Remove Anti-Celibacy Ads After Blowback

Bumble dating app on phone screen

Bumble's latest ad campaign has stirred controversy among its users, leading the dating app to apologize.

The advertisements, which suggested celibacy wasn't a viable choice, faced backlash for undermining daters' freedom to choose their lifestyles.

The company posted on Instagram: “Our ads referencing celibacy were an attempt to lean into a community frustrated by modern dating, and instead of bringing joy and humor, we unintentionally did the opposite.” 

The campaign was launched in late April alongside redesigning the app.

It featured billboards with slogans such as “A vow of celibacy is not the answer” and “Thou shalt not give up on dating and become a nun.” 

Social media criticism

Social media users quickly criticized the ads, accusing Bumble of delegitimizing celibacy and pressuring individuals into sexual relationships.

Bumble said it would remove the ads and donate to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and other organizations supporting women, marginalized communities, and abuse victims.

Bumble, founded in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe Herd, originally gained popularity by allowing only women to send the first message to potential heterosexual matches, a feature removed in the recent redesign. 

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The company has faced changes recently, with Wolfe Herd stepping down last year and a layoff of approximately 350 employees announced in February.

Bumble has introduced various premium features and pricing tiers to attract a newer generation of users. 

The app offers a premium membership for $54.99 monthly and a cheaper option for $29.99 monthly. 

According to the company's latest quarterly report, Bumble now has over 2.7 million paying users, an increase from 2.4 million a year ago.

Bumble's stock closed at $11.51 on Monday. 

The company's shares, which went public in February 2021, have declined by 22 percent this year.

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